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Trapped Woman Rescued from Collapsed Bangladesh Factory 17 Days after Collapse
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Buried in the rubble of a collapsed factory building for 17 days, seamstress Reshma Begum was rescued this week. The collapse of the eight-story garment factory has been touted as the worst disaster in the industry’s history.

In coverage with the World News, rescue workers observed that Begum was in miraculously good health, with no injuries, considering she had been trapped in the wreckage for over two weeks. Begum survived by eating dried food and rationing water; over the final two days, she drank only water. She was fortunate that the building collapsed in a manner that gave her room for movement. She was able to scavenge for food and water nearby her. According to Begum, three other workers were trapped with her, all of whom died.

  
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When she heard the sound of rescue workers near her, she grabbed a rod and banged the pipe until they heard her. After 40 minutes of tense waiting, the workers pulled her from the building to the sounds of a cheering crowd.

Media hailed Begum’s rescue as a miracle, especially in light of the fact that most of the survivors had been pulled from the wreckage in the days immediately following the collapse. Over 2,500 people were rescued following the building’s collapse, but the number of survivors has dwindled in the past two weeks. The last survivor was found on April 28th, only to die from smoke inhalation after a fire broke out during the efforts to retrieve her. Since that time, rescue workers have concentrated their efforts on simply retrieving bodies from the building, identifying them, and returning them to their families.

Begum’s survival has served as a much-needed morale boost for a search-and-rescue operation that has, at this point, turned into a search-and-removal of dead bodies. Her rescue was broadcast live on TV, and Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, personally called and visited her at the hospital. Begum is currently recovering at a nearby hospital.

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The eight-story garment factory collapse has been called the worst disaster in the industry’s history and resulted in sharp outcry over labor conditions in the country’s $20 billion dollar garment sector. Despite being approved by safety inspectors for only five stories, building owner Mohammed Sohel Rana later added three more stories, along with heavy machinery, against the safety recommendations of the city. Rana, along with eight other individuals, are currently being detained and await charges. The death toll has surpassed 1,000 as of this week.

Image Credit: AP Photo / Parvez Ahmad Rony





 

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